/i/story/62/72/006799/jk-google-onboard.jpgIn a nearly coordinated move both the EU and US regulatory agencies have approved Google's buyout of Motorola Mobility. The deal is now clear to be consummated, and will have an impact on the Android business world like no other. Google has made it clear that the Motorola operation will be kept separate from Google's Android business, and that Motorola will be just another company making Android devices. That stance is aimed at keeping the major players in the Android space calm, but perhaps it's time for Google to rethink the separate operation strategy.
Android is going as strong as ever, but recent financial information shows that Samsung is reaping all the profits. Motorola is not faring so well, nor is major player HTC. Once Google has brought Motorola onto the books, it's not going to sit well with shareholders if the newly acquired company is not performing very well.
What I'd like to see is Google taking the reins at Motorola and making a genuine run in the smartphone and tablet space. Forget the feel-good arms length posture and leverage the advantages that a joint operation can bring to the business. Every Motorola device after the merger should be a genuine Nexus device, a true Google device that gets all updates first with no hardware left behind.
Motorola makes some excellent hardware, so let's see Google take advantage of that. Tailor the hardware and Android software to together make more compelling products. Every device released by the company should ship with the latest version of Android (currently Android 4.0, aka Ice Cream Sandwich) without fail. There is no reason for any Google/ Motorola hardware to not ship with the latest and greatest software, given the total control over the entire product development.
Joint operation is the key, operating the two companies separately after the merger will waste the tremendous advantage that can be realized with total control over both hardware and software. This is often cited as the reason behind Apple's fabulous success with iOS, and rightly so. Now Google/ Motorola will have the same ability to tailor future development of Android to the hardware it produces. To fail to leverage that would border on incompetence, no matter how Android licensees will feel about it.
Android device makers (including Motorola) are already planning to scale back the number of devices they release due to lack of profits. The number of Android activations that Google has always used to prove how good it's doing is going to go down as a result, so the threat of competition with Google/ Motorola is not going to be as big a deal as it would have been a year ago. Samsung may not like the competition, but Android is making that company so much money it can't afford to jump to another platform. Smaller partners are not going to drop the totally free Android as a platform, as the only real alternative is Windows Phone which will add license fees. Last I checked Windows Phone isn't burning up the market, either.
This merger could be the most exciting event in the mobile space, and it would be a shame to waste the opportunity. Android device makers aren't faring well currently with the exception of Samsung, so the stimulus of a native Android product line can't be harmful to the mobile world in the long term. Forget the naysayers, and full steam ahead with a Motorola Nexus line of Android tablets and smartphones.